BYNG — After 27 years of service, Charles Barrick has ended his affiliation with the community of Byng.

"I'm resigning after 27 years as a trustee for the town of Byng, and 26 of that as mayor," he said Wednesday afternoon, just an hour before his time in both positions ran out.

According to Barrick, his decision to resign from both seats was based on numbers.

"The number of years was a factor in my decision to retire, and at my age, there’re a lot of other things that I want to do," he said. "I want some time to spend with family, especially since my grandkids are getting older. Being mayor, it can sidetrack you on a lot of things."

During his tenure, Barrick said the community of Byng has received a new city hall and fire station, complete with the proper gear necessary to aid volunteer firefighters.

"When I first started, we were meeting in the old green building that's out on State Highway 99. Eventually, we had the money to purchase a lot where the present city hall and fire station is, and we waited a while longer and collected more money and built the fire station that's on the back of city hall at present. It was the first part we built."

Barrick's experience has varied since taking office in Byng in 1978. He was an associate professor in the education department at East Central University from 1978 to 1999, and was chairperson for the ECU Technology Department/Industrial Education from 1987 to 1991. He was a Byng volunteer firefighter from 1972 to 1976 and again from 1978 to 1998, retiring with a rank of Captain.

But according to Barrick, the biggest event to occur during his time was a merger between Byng and People's Electric Co-Op.

"The big thing was being able to partner with the People's Electric Co-Op, and we got into the wheeling business in 1991 and this was brought about by the federal government," he said. "They had a law in which an entity like Byng and others can wheel electricity. Wheeling means that as long as you can get any other power, you can wheel your electricity over their lines, and so we were able to get an agreement with Grand River Dam, and they sent electricity up the southwest power line. It comes into Tupelo, and PEC has lines that pick it up and bring it into our service lines. It's meant several thousands dollars a month for us. Sometimes we paid Grand River Dam several hundred thousand, or maybe somewhere between $100,000 to $200,000 a month. Of course we would like a bigger percentage, but we're happy with what we have, because that's allowed us to buy all of the fire equipment we presently have or need in the future, and we're able to buy the correct fire protection for each firefighter, as we have approximately 12 people on the fire department."

Barrick's plans are to now enjoy his family more, including his six grandchildren, who range in age from one to 10.

"I want to go to their ball games," he said with a laugh. "I've got four grandsons hooked up right now with baseball for the summer, another one swimming who's always going to Tulsa or Oklahoma City. I also have a granddaughter that's four or five years old and she's both into hockey and softball and things of that sort. And then we have the little year-and-a-half old grandchild who's just fun to be down on the floor with. It's always neat to have time for them when they come to visit. I have a 2x4 Gator and they love to get into the back of that, and I take them through the old oil field roads that are back around the school."

Barrick said he appreciates his years working with the Byng community. "I've enjoyed my time and being connected with the board as a trustee and as a mayor. We've accomplished a lot."

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